Still Opportunities Aplenty for HTML5 Developers
It's no secret that major social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have abandoned high-profile HTML5 projects in favor of mobile native app. But there are still plenty of opportunities at enterprises for developers with strong Web-based skillsets.
Facebook abandoned its HTML5 initiative and released a native iOS app last year, a move that many industry observers saw as a sign that HTML5 was not ready for prime time.
Then, this month LinkedIn moved away from HTML5 in favor of native apps despite its previous commitment to mobile Web. The problem wasn't HTML5 itself, but the fact that there weren't a lot of production support tools—"having a debugger that actually works, performance tools that tell you where the memory is running out"—to troubleshoot issues, LinkedIn director of engineering Kiran Prasad told VentureBeat. "It’s not that HTML5 isn’t ready; it’s that the ecosystem doesn’t support it," he concluded.
High Demand Persists
There have been almost as many HTML5 job postings on Indeed.com as there are Android and iOS jobs, as of the beginning of the year. When viewed in terms of job growth over that period, HTML5 jobs have outpaced both Android and iOS jobs.
This really comes as no surprise. Enterprises have a different set of requirements than what consumer app developers like to focus on, and native apps don't always fit those needs. Cross-platform support moves away from "nice-to-have" for consumer apps to a "must-have" for enterprises.
HTML5 safe bet for organizations
Betting on HTML5 makes more sense for enterprises -- both in terms of time and money -- than to seek developers familiar with every single platform within the broad mobile ecosystem.
With the vast majority of mobile operating systems shipping with HTML5-compliant Web browsers, it is far easier for organizations to build HTML5 Web apps or hybrid HTML5-native apps. The hybrid app may be HTML5 at its core, but have a native wrapper that can access the device camera or other features.
Industry forecasts predict that by 2015, 80 percent of all mobile applications developed will be hybrid or mobile-Web-oriented.
As another example showing not everyone is abandoning HTML5: Netflix’s director of engineering Anthony Park and director of streaming standards Mark Watson recently outlined the company's plans to eventually move its streaming video service to use HTML5. The company currently uses Microsoft Silverlight to deliver streaming video to both PC and Mac Web browsers. Considering that Microsoft is planning to end support for Silverlight and not all Web browsers support plugins, Netflix needs to make the shift to HTML5 video, Park and Watson said.
"Since Microsoft announced the end-of-life of Silverlight 5 in 2021, we need to find a replacement sometime within the next eight years," the pair wrote.
Another jobs survey by a different online jobs site found similar demand for HTML5 developers. United Kingdom-based small businesses are looking for developers with experience in "core Web 2.0 technologies," such as HTML5, CSS, PHP, and jQuery, according to Freelancer.com's job survey.
Native development also growing
Job postings seeking HTML5 skills were up 20.1 percent and CSS up 14.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Freelancer's recent "Fast 50"* online jobs survey. That isn't to say native developers are falling behind; job posts for Android developers were up 20.5 percent, iPad developers up 11.5 percent, and iPhone up 4.9 percent.
*Fast 50 tracks the top 50 fastest growing (or declining) job types in the online labor market on a quarterly basis. The survey analyzes over 280,000 job postings on Freelancer.com to identify what skills employers are interested in.
Many mobile developers have expressed an interest in HTML5, and now I would like to hear from you. Are you seeing more job opportunities for HTML5 development? Will the market continue to heat up for HTML5? Weigh in below.
About the Author
Fahmida Y. Rashid is a contributing editor for Slashdot and SourceForge.